Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, October 14, 2021

It’s time to lift the veil, such as it were.

I’ve been doing some behind-the-scenes work with the team starting up The 8trk Project, chiefly on the business-development and marketing side. That’s recently included a smattering of posts to the official blog. I chose “free_agent” as my moniker there, a double-entendre referring to both my role with the venture and my relationship with regards to “head coach”, who’s one of the founding partners.

What’s 8trk about? As I’ve alluded in previous posts here, it’s an attempt to bring the worlds of social networking and music enthusiasm together. How we bring that together is already an evolving process, and it’s fascinating to see how all the pieces are falling into place — in both positive and not-so-positive directions, depending on everyone’s perspectives.

As the post just prior to this one indicates, I’ll start cross-posting entries from the 8trk Blog to here. I don’t know that I’ll do it consistently; while I plan to markedly increase entries there, they won’t always be a good fit on PopStat. Besides, in the short time that I’ve been posting there, I’ve tried to cultivate a different, more off-the-cuff blog voice for 8trk, so it makes sense in my mind to limit the crossover. We’ll see.

More details as I deem appropriate. It’s my first real experience with a Web startup — let alone a Web 2.0 startup — so I’m really soaking things in at this stage. Where it goes is almost besides the point right now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/14/2007 10:14:54 PM
Category: 8trk, Business
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (4)

Yes, we’re living in the Age of the Legitimized Music-Act Sell-Out:

It seems as if every commercial these days has a rock band in it. What was once the mark of utter uncoolness, a veritable byword of selling out, has become the norm. More than a decade ago we became inured to the most unlikely parings. Led Zeppelin in a Cadillac ad. The Clash shilling for Jaguar. Bob Dylan warbling for an accounting firm, or Victoria’s Secret. An Iggy Pop song about a heroin-soaked demimonde accompanying scenes of blissful vacationers on a Caribbean cruise ship.

But is selling out always bad? Some say the shifting sands of the music industry make corporate sponsorship the only way for musicians to make a living. And, at least when it comes to the rap/hip-hop world, there’s a difference between “selling out” and “cashing in”.

If you’re torturing yourself over whether or not your favorite artist has created a new business paradigm, or else simply taken the money and run: Music critic-at-large Bill Wyman has come up with the Moby Quotient. It’s a fancy mathematical calculation that factors in the musical act’s existing coolness/relevance, the corporate entity’s evilness/lack thereof, the dollars involved on both sides, etc.

A question to the 8trk Powers That Be: Any chance of including a Moby Quotient widget during Alpha testing?

(Cross-posted on 8trk.com)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/14/2007 09:47:30 PM
Category: 8trk, Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (2)

store lineup
I took some time out of my busy Friday schedule to attend the midday grand opening of the National Hockey League’s new flagship retail store, NHL Powered by Reebok.

It was a zoo, all right. I don’t know that I managed to capture that crazed atmosphere with my MWW Group-loaned Nikon D80 camera, but I took a few pictures of the event nonetheless. They’ll eventually all show up on the Picture This Project page as well; because I’m limited to adding 5 photos per day there, it’ll take a couple more days for all of the shots to get posted there.

Being surrounded by so much raw retailing imagery, I felt strongly compelled to come away with a purchase. Aside from a tea from the on-site Starbucks, I refrained, mainly due to lack of time and not being able to find my size. I did almost grab a “vintage” Minnesota North Stars t-shirt, and even considered another vintage New York Americans shirt (representing a long-defunct team, notable only for its demise signaling the commencement of the Original Six era). I’ll be making future visits, and I’m sure I’ll be dropping a fair amount of cash there.

A few notes, with appropriate Flickr’d links:

- The Brodeur-Crosby-Thornton mural, which I used as a glyph image above. I imagine it had to be a challenge to do the work on the sidewalk, with everyone walking by and gawking.

- I did show up with my prize key for the Unlock Your NHL Dreams contest. But the line to get to the safebox was wayyyyyy too long, and besides, the choice prizes were already gone. So I gave my key away before I left.

- I got a glimpse at some NHL alumni, including Butch Goring, Ken Daneyko and Bruce Driver, and last but least, Eric Cairns (who at least had a semi-hot Islanders Ice Girl with him). No Rangers old-timers while I was there; I found that curious, given that this was the heart of Manhattan.

- Also got a glimpse at the Stanley Cup. I didn’t try to get my photo taken with it, though.

- Among the kookier items for sale in the store: anime-ized Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin action figures. I didn’t see them flying off the shelves, which is understandable as the store is fairly apparel-oriented (the Reebok influence).

- A stand-out piece of hardware: An Orange County Choppers-commissioned NHL-themed motorcycle, near the entrance. I’ll have to catch the show episode where they build the thing.

- The much-vaunted giant hockey-stick sculpture hanging from the ceiling didn’t really stand out for me. If anything, it brought to my mind the ceiling-dangling samurai swords to be found at Kobe Club, even though I’ve never actually seen the latter.

- The much-hyped permanent ice wall was pretty disappointing, to me. It was a lot smaller than I expected, and what’s with the for-sale ice skates superimposed over it? Plus, it seemed to have excessive frost on it, which wasn’t particularly yielding to my attempts at finger-writing; it made me wonder if it wasn’t somehow malfunctioning.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/14/2007 09:22:18 PM
Category: Hockey, New Yorkin', Photography
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (2)

I honestly didn’t think “Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography” was going to cause much of a ripple outside of the comics world.

But buzz began with allegations from family members that author David Michaelis skewed his portrayal of Charles M. Schulz too much toward the unflattering. Thus was the story of the creator of Peanuts lent a scandalous air, even if it mostly amounted to a lifelong struggle with melancholy.

Which highlights an interesting dynamic between the public and the artists they adore: The need to believe in a fundamental flaw from which springs talent and inspiration:

Patricia Hampl, a memoirist and poet who grew up in St. Paul and teaches at the University of Minnesota, suggested that our desire to think of good artists as fundamentally troubled stems from a need even now — perhaps particularly now, in the age of entertainment’s dominance — for art to be something separate from our quotidian lives, something almost spiritual.

“People don’t want to believe that someone like them could just sit down at a typewriter or a desk and create something great or timeless,” she said. “It’s got to be the product of a lot of misery and angst.” She compared the impulse to that of conspiracy theorists and their reluctance to believe in the banality of evil: “It’s hard to accept that a guy could just go up into a building and shoot the president.”

Because if it were easy, then everyone should start feeling guilty for not producing out-of-the-ballpark works of art on a regular basis. The impetus for user-generated content on the Web lies behind this, as is criticism that output from the masses shouldn’t be judged by “elitist” standards (even though the judgment ultimately comes from societal measures).

Incidentally, that inability to face up to bland realities syncs with my opinion of conspiracy theories as security blankets:

I’ve pondered the thought process of conspiracy theorists in the past. Without doing any in-depth research on the subject, it seems to me that placing faith in “unseen forces” is actually a comforting thought for many people. In an odd way, it makes more sense that the improbable is behind monumental events, rather than what’s (mostly) apparent. People who subscribe to these points of view can’t accept basic facts, and will take the slightest sliver of doubt to keep crackpot theories alive.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/14/2007 02:44:50 PM
Category: Creative, Publishing
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback